Saturday, September 07, 2019

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: A changed paradigm
Greenblatt helped change the conversation from one that was just about placing blame on Israel to one that recognized that the Palestinians were just as much to blame for the lack of progress in the peace process, if not more.

The economic summit held in Bahrain in June which was attended by Israelis – including our own Herb Keinon – showed how Greenblatt could skillfully break down barriers and help realign the Middle East with an understanding that Israel is a partner to countries in the Gulf, not an adversary.

On the other hand, Greenblatt’s role and outspoken support of Israel led Palestinians to believe that the US was no longer an “honest” broker in the region. That alone may have buried the so-called “Deal of the Century”.

What will happen with that plan now remains to be seen. Greenblatt might have been the key convener and author of the plan, but it has other architects, including Jared Kushner and Friedman. Will it really come out as the administration says it will after Israel’s election? Will it succeed in bringing the sides together? Or will it automatically be rejected by Abbas’s intransigent government in Ramallah?

Ultimately, no matter how detailed and comprehensive a deal it is, it will face two major problems from the outset. The first is that any peace plan needs to have presidential involvement, without which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to bring the two sides to the table. Trump, who is already deep into his re-election campaign, does not appear to be the type willing to invest the time, effort and personal resources.

The second problem is in Jerusalem and Ramallah, where the leaders – Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas – do not seem interested in negotiating or working on a resolution to the conflict. Netanyahu is never in a rush to get involved in a peace process and Abbas seems to prefer to wait for November 2020 and see who wins the presidential elections. Why rush into something if Trump might be out of the Oval Office in a year?

Greenblatt has played a positive role in this process. As much as he has done though, no one can want peace more than the sides themselves.

PA: Greenblatt resignation is Trump's "opportunity to rethink" peace plan
Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for Middle East peace, has announced he’ll be leaving his post.

According to administration officials, Greenblatt’s departure will wait until the US rolls out the political part of its long-awaited peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians sometime after the Israeli national election on September 17. It unveiled the plan’s financial segment last June during a conference in Bahrain.

Greenblatt has been a main pillar of President Trump’s Mideast team. He has worked alongside Trump’s powerful son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

His resignation could throw the future of the troubled peace initiative – it has already been rejected by the Palestinian Authority – into a swirl of ambiguity. The team itself has come to be viewed by the Palestinians as an extension of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies.

The PA has yet to officially respond to the news, but a high-ranking official in Ramallah told The Media Line he hoped that Greenblatt’s departure would create an “opportunity” for the White House to “rethink” its policy toward the Palestinians.

“His resignation,” the official said, asking to remain unnamed, “is a result of the growing conviction by the US administration that implementing the plan as originally conceived is not going to be easy. This does not mean that America will abandon attempts to pressure the Palestinian side, but Greenblatt's flight means he does not trust all the promises he and his team have made.”
Juan Cole: Michigan's Pontificator-in-Chief
Becoming a recognized authority in any field is an admirable achievement. Yet when professors pontificate on matters far beyond their expertise, the results can be risible. That's particularly true of academics whose track record in their own field leaves much to be desired.

Which brings us to Juan Cole, Exhibit A for professorial puffery and purple prose.

Breitbart has taken note of the University of Michigan Middle Eastern history professor's latest foray into a subject well beyond his competence: climate science. Never one for wise counsel when hysteria will do, Cole called on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to resign in the wake of Hurricane Dorian because "his inaction on fossil fuels will literally sink Florida."

Moreover, Cole believes studying the Middle East qualifies him for informed comment on the underground liquid gold that made the region rich: oil and, now, natural gas. To boot, being above ground and partaking of the climate on a daily basis, he fancies himself a meteorologist extraordinaire, able to leap logic in a single blog post – a skill at which we'll concede he excels. And if that's not enough, since Florida will "literally sink," we must add geology to his conquests.

As for Breitbart, Cole wasted no time responding to its article by labeling the conservative publication "far, far rightwing reused toilet paper," a "brown shirt rag," and a "racist piece of excrement" that makes "fascist sh** up, riffing on Mein Kampf." One might suspect Cole is a bit fixated on the scatological (calling Freud), but at least the implements at hand are recyclable.

Tlaib Meets With Members of Terrorism-Supporting, Anti-Israel Organization
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) recently met with a controversial pro-Palestinian organization that has encouraged violence against Israel, justified the use of terrorism against the Jewish state, and has called for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, according to online postings on social media.

Tlaib, who has been under fire for her hatred of Israel and support for the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement was pictured meeting with members of the Palestine Youth Movement during the Arab Texas Festival held recently in Dallas. The PYM organization is known for its vitriolic rhetoric against Israelis and Jews and has been caught in the past glorifying the leaders of anti-Semitic terrorist organizations.

Tlaib's interaction with the group is unlikely to come as a surprise to the pro-Israel community, but is further evidence of her willingness as a member of Congress to associate with some of the most radical and fringe anti-Israel groups.

PYM has a history of anti-Israel activity that has spilled into outright hostility toward the Jewish state. This includes a 2018 event held in San Francisco in which attendees called for Israeli soldiers to be kidnapped, according to a video of that event captured by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or CAMERA.

In Facebook postings PYM has memorialized so-called Palestinian martyrs, or those killed or imprisoned while carrying out terrorist attacks on Israel. At least three of those honored by the organization were known operatives of the Hamas terror group.

WATCH: Hammer On ‘Tipping Point With Liz Wheeler’: Why Is No One Discussing Rising Anti-Semitic Violence In New York City?
On Thursday, Daily Wire Editor-at-Large Josh Hammer, who frequently opines on issues pertaining to Jewish politics, anti-Semitism, and Israel, joined "Tipping Point With Liz Wheeler" on One America News Network to discuss the astonishing rise in violent anti-Semitic incidents in New York City in the year 2019.

Over this past week, there have been four violent anti-Semitic assaults in Brooklyn, New York. Wheeler and Hammer discussed why it is the case that anti-Semitic violence may be on the rise and, just as importantly, why political leaders — which, in New York City, are nearly exclusively Democrats — seem to barely be paying attention to the harrowing phenomenon.

Wheeler began by pointing out how "Democrats, on the campaign trail, constantly condemn hatred and bigotry and violence of any kind — and yet, when this [violence] is in their own district and it's anti-Semitism that motivates the violence, we hear nothing from them."

Hammer responded by pointing out just how dangerous the current phenomenon is, and also stressed how it is imperative that, no matter one's personal politics, all forms of anti-Semitism must be treated extremely seriously. Hammer singled out feckless Democratic Party leadership for harboring and nurturing toxic anti-Zionism, but also bluntly stated that anyone not treating all forms of anti-Semitism seriously should "shut up and re-evaluate his priorities," Hammer warned:

Iran Is ‘Central Problem’ Causing Instability in Middle East, US Secretary of State Pompeo Says
Iran is the “central problem” causing instability in the Middle East, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Speaking at Kansas State University, America’s top diplomat noted, “If you look at the conflicts, whether it’s the difficulty that Iraq has in standing up its own sovereign independence, the problem is the Islamic Republic of Iran. If you look at Israel’s security along its northern border, it’s Hezbollah, underwritten by Iran. If you stare at Syria today, it was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps that drove Assad’s regime to successfully cause 6 million persons to be displaced from Syria. Today, Houthis in a country called Yemen are launching missiles into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

“The people of Iran are amazing people; the Persian history is staggeringly beautiful and gorgeous,” Pompeo added. “Our mission set has been twofold: first, to create a coalition — Gulf states, the Israelis, European partners, countries from Asia — to take the tension down, to create de-escalatory defense systems. You see what we’re doing in the Strait of Hormuz today, trying to create a situation where there’s less risk that there’ll be conflict. And then the second mission has been to deny the Iranian regime the wealth and resources to inflict their terror campaigns around the world. They are in fact the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. They have an active assassination campaign taking place in European capitals even as we speak. They’re underwriting Hezbollah in Argentina and Brazil. This is a regime that has a revolutionary flavor, and our mission set is to create the conditions where their behavior will change.”

“President Trump has said he’s happy to meet with the Iranian leadership,” he pointed out. “Happy might overstate it a bit, but willing for sure to meet with them because, in the end, we want to resolve this through diplomacy. We would love nothing more than for Iran to come back into the community of nations, to cease its efforts to proliferate nuclear weapon systems, to cease building out missile systems that threaten not only the Middle East but soon Europe as well, and to convince them that conducting terror campaigns in more than a dozen countries is not in their national security interest. It’s been our mission; it’s still a project where there’s a lot of work to do.”
U.S. ambassador: German law permits ban of Hezbollah
Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, wrote in a blistering commentary in Die Welt on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration has no excuse for not outlawing the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.

Grenell wrote that “The legal authority for a full ban of Hezbollah already exists. In November 2015, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court transferred its settled case-law on Hamas to Hezbollah. According to this decision, the entirety of Hezbollah was found to be directed ‘against the idea of international understanding.’ Among other things, it cited Hezbollah’s call for the extermination of Israel.”

Grenell added, “Germany’s Law on Associations states that such organizations can be banned by the Ministry of Interior, including ones that are domiciled abroad. It was on this basis that the Ministry of Interior banned the political and social activities of ISIS and al Qaeda. These same legal authorities can be used to shut down Hezbollah’s activities in Germany.”

According to 2019 German intelligence reports reviewed by The Jerusalem Post, Merkel’s government allows 1,050 Hezbollah operatives to raise funds, recruit new members and spread jihadi and antisemitic ideologies in the federal republic.

Grenell wrote: “If Germany wants to take a stand against the Assad regime’s violence in Syria and the export of that violence to Europe, Germany can ban Hezbollah in its entirety.”
Margot Wallstrom, Swedish FM Shunned by Israel Over Palestinian State Recognition, Announces Resignation
Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish foreign minister whose tenure has been marked by a serious decline in bilateral ties with Israel, announced on Friday that she was stepping down from her post.

A former United Nations Special Representative dealing with sexual violence in conflicts who also served two stints as a European Union commissioner, Wallstrom was appointed Swedish foreign minister in 2014.

“I have put everything I have into the job of making Sweden safe, respected internationally and appreciated as a partner,” Wallstrom said in a statement. “It is time for me to spend more time with my husband, my children and my grandchildren.”

Wallstrom told Swedish radio she expected Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to announce her successor on Tuesday when he makes his policy declaration as parliament resumes after summer break.

“It seems like an adequate point in time to also say who will succeed me,” she told the public broadcaster.

Throughout her time in the post, Wallstrom was an unsympathetic critic of Israeli policy. A planned visit to Israel was postponed when furious government ministers refused to meet with Wallstrom following her decision in Oct. 2014 to recognize the Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood. “She would not have received any official meetings in Israel, and it’s not a matter of political perspective, I think that all decision makers in Israel agree that what Sweden did is a highly unfriendly act,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson explained at the time.

In Nov. 2015, after the Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris, Wallstrom opined that the unresolved conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was a key factor in the radicalization of Islamists. Two months later, Wallstrom again roused anger in the Jewish state when she urged an investigation into Israel’s supposed “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinian terrorists — a claim rejected as “delusional” in Jerusalem.
Israeli teen badly hurt in West Bank stabbing attack after visiting dentist
The army on Saturday announced that an initial investigation into the stabbing of two Israelis, attacked after visiting a Palestinian dentist earlier in the day in the West Bank village of Azun, was a terror attack.

“An assailant stabbed two Israeli civilians after they had entered Azun in order to receive medical treatment,” the army said Saturday referring to a village east of Qalqilya in the north of the territory.

The victims were a 60-year-old father, Yosef Perez, who was lightly injured and his teen son, Liber Perez, 17, who was badly hurt.

Liber Perez sustained multiple stab wounds to his upper body in the Saturday morning assault, while the father was lightly hurt on the arm.

The two, residents of the southern Israeli city of Ofakim, were visiting a local dentist for treatment along with the father’s brother when they were accosted by a young Palestinian man, said to be a teen, who asked if they were Jews, they said later Saturday.

There were conflicting reports on how they responded. The uncle told Walla news that they replied in Arabic, telling the young man that they were not Jews, while the father told Channel 12 news that they replied that they were indeed Jewish.

Both said they suddenly spotted a knife in the assailant’s hand during the brief exchange.
IDF strikes Hamas posts in Gaza Strip after rockets fired at Israel
The IDF struck several Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip on Friday night, the IDF spokesperson reported.
An IDF tank shelled a Hamas outpost north of Beit Hanoun and an IAF drone stuck a Hamas observation point near Beit Lahia, Palestinian media reported.

The strikes were north of the Gaza Strip and were in response to the rockets fired at Israel earlier on Friday night, according to an IDF press release.

The IDF International Media Spokesperson Jonathan Conricus tweeted that "most of the international media will probably report: 'Israeli military strikes Gaza.' Go figure the logic behind that."

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported no injuries as a result of the IDF strikes.

Five rockets were fired and air raid sirens heard in Gaza border communities as well as the city of Sderot, no injuries were reported.

Prior to the rocket fire, two Palestinians were killed and 76 others were injured during massive protests along the Gaza border.
Army: Gaza drone drops explosives in Israel near border, IDF vehicle damaged
A group of Palestinian terrorists piloted an armed drone into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the army said in a statement.

The Israel Defense Forces said the drone left an explosive device near the security fence along the border before returning to Gaza.

It said a military vehicle was lightly damaged in the incident.

The IDF said it opened fire at the cell responsible for the drone.

No Israeli soldiers were hurt and there were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.

Last month, the IDF said it thwarted an Iranian plot to fly “kamikaze” explosives-laden drones at Israeli territory from Syria.

Saturday’s incident came after Israeli forces attacked several military targets belonging to the Gaza terror group earlier in the day in response to rocket fire from Gaza.

The IDF said it had identified five projectiles that had crossed the border into Israeli territory.
Netanyahu warns Hamas after weekend of deadly escalation
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian terror group Hamas on Saturday that Israel would respond forcefully to any attempt to harm its citizens and soldiers, following two days of violent incidents on and near the Gaza border.

“Hamas is responsible for all aggression emanating from the Gaza Strip. Any attempt to harm our citizens and our soldiers will be met with a forceful response,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

The warning came after a particularly violent weekend in the Gaza border area.

Earlier Saturday, Gaza terrorists piloted an armed drone into Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said. It did not specify if the explosive detonated, but said a military vehicle was lightly damaged in the incident.

The IDF said it opened fire at the cell responsible for the drone. No Israeli soldiers were hurt and there were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.
IDF arrests 13-year-old Palestinians who crossed Gaza border armed with knife
Israeli troops on Saturday detained three Palestinian boys armed with a knife who crossed into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“IDF soldiers a short time ago arrested three suspects that crossed the security fence in the south of the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The suspects were arrested after IDF forces encircled and scoured the area where they crossed. The suspects will be investigated by security personnel,” the army said.

The IDF later said the suspects were 13-year-olds and had carried a knife with them.

The arrest follows several incidents on the restive border.

On Friday, two Palestinian teens were reportedly killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border in what the IDF called “especially violent” riots.

The IDF had no immediate comment on the deaths but said some 6,200 Palestinians took part in the weekly “March of Return,” including hundreds who rioted.
Hamas Vows Revenge Against Israel for Deaths of Rioters on ‘Especially Violent’ Day on Gaza Border
More than 6,000 Palestinians rioted on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday in an “especially violent” manner, the IDF said.

The rioters — hurling explosive devices, grenades, firebombs and rocks — damaged the border fence in several locations, according to the Israeli military.

A number of Palestinians were said to have breached the border and briefly crossed into Israeli territory before returning to Gaza. Two were detained on the Israeli side of the border and taken in for questioning.

IDF troops responded with riot-dispersal means. Health officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza said two Palestinian teenagers were killed, and 70 other demonstrators were injured, including 38 by live fire.

Hamas warned that Israel would be “held accountable for these crimes.”

In the past, Gaza-based terror groups have sometimes retaliated for the deaths of Palestinian rioters on the border with rocket fire into southern Israel.
UN nuclear inspectors in Iran as tensions mount over nuke deal violations
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says it has inspectors on the ground in Iran who will be able to look into Tehran’s declaration that it has begun injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency told The Associated Press Saturday it was aware of reports “related to Iran’s centrifuge research and development.”

The Vienna-based IAEA said “agency inspectors are on the ground in Iran and they will report any relevant activities to IAEA headquarters.”

The IAEA’s acting director-general, Cornel Feruta, was traveling Saturday to Iran. The agency said he will meet Sunday with high-ranking officials in Tehran as part of what it said were its “ongoing interactions” related to its monitoring under the nuclear deal. The IAEA, which issues compliance reports, meets in Vienna on Monday.

Earlier Saturday, Iran said it has begun injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges, in violation of the historic atomic deal. Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran made the remarks in a news conference carried on live television. He spoke from a podium with advanced centrifuges standing next to him.
Canada to appeal ruling that settlement wines can’t be labeled ‘Made in Israel’
The Canadian government said Friday that it would appeal a court decision that said wines produced in West Bank settlements could not be labeled as a product of Israel.

The country’s Federal Court of Appeal would dispute a lower court’s decision regarding the labeling, according to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, a Toronto-based advocacy organization.

Canada’s Federal Court ruled in July that wines produced by Israelis in the West Bank could no longer be labeled as Israeli.

Challenging a previous decision by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Judge Anne L. Mactavish determined that labels describing wines made in the settlements as Israeli products were “false, misleading and deceptive.”

In her ruling, she did not take a position on how exactly such wines should be labeled, saying this was for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to decide.

Mactavish also noted that settlements are not considered part of the State of Israel, as Canada does not recognize Israeli sovereignty beyond the pre-1967 borders.
Jewish workers work at Beit El winery in the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank, September 4, 2019. (Hillel Maeir/Flash90)

The Canadian case started in early 2017, when David Kattenburg, a Winnipeg-based university lecturer and self-declared “wine lover” filed a complaint with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency about the fact that wines made in Israeli settlements were labeled as “Products of Israel.”
World Zionist Organization Assembles Latin American Jews in Chile for Antisemitism Conference
The World Zionist Organization (WZO) on Friday opened a three-day conference in Santiago, the capital of Chile, on the topic of confronting antisemitism in Latin America.

Convened by WZO vice-chair Yaakov Hagoel, the conference will involve 150 Jewish professionals from around the region who will receive briefings from “high-level experts in the field to deal with the growing phenomenon,” the Spanish-language Jewish news outlet Diario Judio reported.

In an interview with the Argentine-Jewish newspaper Iton Gadol prior to the conference, Hagoel said he had encountered many Jews in Latin American countries who “sometimes find symbols and characteristics that at first glance seem completely harmless, but behind them there are clear antisemitic insinuations, hidden images, legends or combinations of these.”

Continued Hagoel: “I think it is of the greatest importance to expose to the general public in social media networks the importance of these symbols and the meaning behind them. Together, we will expose the face of antisemitism and uproot it, because it is not possible for organizations and antisemitic individuals to hide behind seemingly meaningless symbols.”

Hagoel said it was imperative “to respond to each antisemitic incident, to each swastika drawn on the wall, as if someone had been attacked or injured,” adding: “If we wear our Judaism with pride, the antisemites will not mess with us.”
‘Free Palestine’ spray-painted on Barcelona’s largest synagogue
“Free Palestine” was spray-painted on the front door of the largest synagogue in Barcelona.

The vandalism took place Wednesday at the Synagogue of the Jewish Community of Barcelona, the El Nacional website reported Thursday. Police have no suspects.

News of the incident at the main house of worship in the Spanish city prompted much rebuke online.

“Confusing a synagogue with the State of Israel reflects a racist mentality,” Jaume Padrรณs, president of the Official College of Physicians of Barcelona, wrote on Twitter.

Separately, a court in southern Spain on Monday nullified the adoption of a boycott of Israel as policy in the town of La Rambla, near Cordoba.

The La Rambla City Council had passed a resolution declaring itself a “space free of Israeli apartheid” and a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Jewish state, or BDS.
Entire street of houses vandalized with swastikas in California
Swastikas were found painted using graffiti on over a dozen houses along several streets in San Pedro, California.

"I cannot believe this happened to my house," said Lilliana Gonzales, a resident of one of the vandalized properties. "It's ugly, it's disgusting and we need to do something about it."

Police are investigating the incident and trying to find the culprit, according to Spectrum News.

A special meeting will be held about the vandalism by community activist Lion Lyons. "Hopefully we can get someone to come forward and put all the guys who did all this mess... to justice," he said.

"God created everyone all equal and we should be able to be nice to each other, happy, content, and just avoid this stupidity," Gonzales concluded.
Dutch neo-Nazi group to protest ‘Zionist lobby’ outside Israeli Embassy
A neo-Nazi group will demonstrate this month outside the Israeli Embassy in the Hague and the municipality says it has no grounds to ban the protest.

Israel’s embassy, the Dutch Jewish community and various politicians have protested the decision not to prevent the Racial Volunteer Force group from holding the protest on Sept. 28, the AD news site reported Thursday. An online petition against the event has received about 2,000 signatures in two days.

But a spokesperson for Mayor Pauline Krikke told AD there is “no judicial ground” to ban the event, though it has been brought to the attention of the prosecution service for monitoring purposes.

The municipality of the Hague, the seat of the Dutch government, parliament, senate and royal residence, is among the Netherlands’ strictest when it comes to limiting freedoms in favor of public order.

In 2014, the municipality ordered a Jewish resident to remove a sukkah, the ceremonial hut that Jews erect for one week during Sukkot, from outside his doorway.

“We are a liberal country in favor of freedom of expression, but neo-Nazis can’t be tolerated,” Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon was quoted as saying. “This is tragic for the Netherlands and Europe.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives prize money to Tree of Life synagogue
Employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette donated to the Tree of Life synagogue the $15,000 they won for their Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the deadly anti-Semitic shooting there.

The newspaper won the prize in April for its “immersive, compassionate coverage” of the attack, the judges said, the paper wrote Wednesday. A gunman killed 11 people and wounded seven at the Tree of Life on Oct. 27.

Splitting the monetary award among those who had participated in the news coverage “just didn’t seem right,” the report said.

Publisher John Robinson Block suggested to donate the prize money to the Tree of Life to help repair its bullet-riddled temple in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

On Aug. 29, in the Post-Gazette newsroom, Executive Editor Keith Burris presented a $15,000 check to Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Samuel Schachner, president of the congregation.

“We feel bound to you and your congregations – by memory and duty,” Burris said in a speech. “And we offer you, in humility, our service – as scribes and witnesses.”
Shock as Polanski Dreyfus film wins honors at Venice film festival
“Joker,” a daring take on the comic book villain starring Joaquin Phoenix, won the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice film festival Saturday with Roman Polanski’s film about French Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus controversially taking second prize.

His voice shaking with emotion, US director Todd Phillips — best known up to now for the slapstick comedy “Very Bad Trip” — paid tribute to Phoenix as “the fiercest and bravest and most open-minded lion that I know.”

“Thank you for trusting me with your insane talents,” he said.

The movie, which The Guardian had described as “one of the boldest Hollywood productions for some time,” has already sparked a heated debate.

And there were audible gasps when director Roman Polanski — a pariah in Hollywood after his rape conviction — was handed the Grand Prix second prize for his Dreyfus Affair drama, “An Officer and a Spy.”
Fulfilling Ari Fuld's dream
Last September, Ari Fuld died a hero's death after being stabbed by a Palestinian Arab terrorist in Gush Etzion and pursuing his attacker to save others from being harmed before collapsing.

Twenty-six years earlier, Ari had enlisted in the IDF as a lone soldier together with fellow lone soldier Yehoshua Friedberg from Canada. A year later, in 1993, Yehoshua was kidnapped and murdered by Arab terrorists. Ari took it upon himself to always remember Yehoshua, keeping in touch with his family throughout the years.

The last project Ari was working on before his death was creating a hospitality truck to serve IDF soldiers as they travel from one mission to the next in memory of Yehoshua. Unfortunately, Ari didn't have a chance to complete the project before his life was cruelly cut short in the prime of his life.

The next Boomerang Gives project is collaborating with the Ari Fuld Project to complete Ari's last project and raise enough funds for the hospitality truck, which will now be in memory of both Yehoshua and Ari.

The real story behind ‘The Spy,’ Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Netflix series
For “Borat,” his 2006 film, Sacha Baron Cohen went undercover as a made-up Kazakh journalist who travels America and gets unwitting targets to share his boorish and sometimes bigoted opinions. In his television series “Who Is America,” the Jewish actor creates a variety of characters who manage to get prominent Americans to say shockingly offensive things.

In “The Spy,” he once again goes undercover, but in a very different way. The actor and filmmaker portrays the real-life Eli Cohen, a daring Israeli agent who embedded himself in the upper echelons of Syrian society in the 1960s and provided crucial intelligence to the Jewish state.

Released Friday, the espionage thriller is already getting plenty of buzz.

Here’s a look at the true story.

Eli Cohen was born in 1924 in a Jewish family in Alexandria, Egypt. Like many Jews in Arab countries, his family left Egypt after the establishment of the state of Israel as they faced growing anti-Semitism at home. Cohen stayed behind to finish his degree in electronics. He also participated in Zionist activities in Egypt, for which he was at one point arrested, and took part in Israeli spy missions there.

In 1956, was expelled from his native country along with many other Jews. He immigrated to Israel, where he joined military intelligence the following year. He attempted to join the Mossad but was initially rejected. He married Nadia Majald, an immigrant from Iraq, and settled in the coastal city of Bat Yam.

In 1960, he was recruited to join the Mossad for a special mission in which he was to pretend to be a Syrian businessman returning to the country after having lived in Argentina. The goal was to gather intelligence from high-ranking Syrian politicians and military officials.

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